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Was Paul a Christian?

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Was Paul a Christian? Research on whether 1 Thessalonians and Galatians prove or disprove the author's argument in her book that Paul was not a Christian. If we choose to say that the above scripture proves that Paul was not a Christian, then we need to give examples how these scriptures do that.

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Solution Summary

This solution is a discussion hinging on Pamela Eisenbaum's book entitled "Paul was not a Christian." Almost 2,000 words of text. Bible verses are used as are quotes from Eisenbaum's book. This is not a detailed book review but rather observations made by me, a Bible teacher with over 15 years of experience, based on Eisenbaum's book and the Bible.

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It will be essential, in order to answer this question, to come to an agreement on a definition for the word "Christian". Today there are likely hundreds of competing definitions and with so much variation there is bound to be misunderstandings and confusion. Since the time of Paul there has obviously been a lot of baggage attached to the word "Christian." Will the group adopt a definition of "Christian" as it applied to 1st century believers? Or will the group adopt a contemporary definition of the word?

First century "Christians" were followers of Jesus. They believed He was God in the flesh, had come to earth in order to pay the penalty of sin and had risen again from the grave. In conquering death He offered assurance of eternal life for those who followed him. He further claimed to be the promised Messiah mentioned in over 400 prophecies in the Old Testament. Therefore to be called a Christian was to be intimately tied to the historical person of Jesus rather than a religion or set of religious doctrines.

- John 1:41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ).
- Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- Acts 10:36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
- Acts 11:26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
- Acts 26:28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?"
- Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

I also believe it will be essential to discuss what the group means when it uses the word "Jew". Most the early followers of Jesus were Jews. The twelve disciples were Jews. All the authors of the New Testament books were Jews with the exception of Luke. Timothy, to whom two books are addressed, was half Jew. I believe it is important to distinguish between the cultural and religious facets of Judaism. While all these early believers in Jesus were Jews as a result of birth, upbringing, language and culture, there came a time when their belief in Jesus would cause them to choose between Jesus' claims and the position of the Jewish ...

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